Highbury toy collector becomes specialist for BBC Cash in the Attic project

PUBLISHED: 18:09 07 May 2013 | UPDATED: 12:30 08 May 2013

From left to right: Lawrence Lambert, Jonty Hearnden, Gary Ashburn and Simon Cooper.

From left to right: Lawrence Lambert, Jonty Hearnden, Gary Ashburn and Simon Cooper.


A lifelong toy collector has been picked as an specialist for a new project by cult BBC TV series Cash in the Attic.

Lawrence Lambert has joined the team at the programme’s new website and app which launched to big fanfare on Monday.

Mr Lambert, who lives off Highbury New Park, Highbury, will now cast his expert eye over hundreds of submissions from people trying to find out the value of their old playthings.

The 57-year-old’s love affair with toys started when he was a schoolboy living in Clapton in the 1960’s – in the shadow of the old Lesney Matchbox factory in Homerton.

He said: “I used to wait outside the factory every Friday hoping someone would come out and bring me a toy. My dad found out and went crazy. He said ‘no way are you doing that’.

“So he took me to Wright’s, a famous shop on the Upper Clapton Road, and bought me my first matchbox car.”

From there, eight-year-old Lawrence was up and running and had collected around 200 cars by the time his family moved to Highbury six years later. But the cars never made it.

“My mum had given them to a sickly kid on our road. I was gutted, I started crying, but my mum said I was too old for all that.

“Anyway 22 years later I got chatting to someone on holiday in Spain and realised it was this same kid. He told me the cars were with his gran, so I went round but they were all smashed to smithereens. Apart from one, and that was enough to start me collecting again.”

Mr Lambert cites Corgi, Subbuteo and Waddington Games as his favourites and says he is a collector for the love, rather than making money.

“I don’t trade and I certainly don’t sell on eBay,” he said.

“It’s ridiculous to do it for cash because you never know when something’s value will go up.

“I am very proud to be involved with the new website. It’s great to be on board. But I see myself as slightly different form the rest because I am much more about the emotional attachment to the toys rather than the monetary value.

“I’m really passionate about it. If you get in touch about a rare toy – I’ll drive round to your house to check it out.

“The way I see it you are just custodians of the toys. Enjoy them, but remember you will eventually pass them on. Nothing lasts forever.”

“I want to make collecting cool and funky, not just for anoraks.”

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